Frontiers has introduced many new and revolutionary concepts to publishing and research networking. Below is a list of publishing and Frontiers jargon that you may find useful.



Board of Editors

Every Frontiers Journal or Section is run by a Board of Editors to which experts are appointed. Boards of Editors are extended to ensure that all niches are appropriately covered. They are organized as follows: each Field Journal is chaired by the Field Chief Editor. Field Journals are composed of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections each run by its own full editorial board, which is headed by a Specialty Chief Editor and composed of Associate and Review Editors. The tasks for each editorial role are well-defined, so that the assignments are evenly distributed and the review process is as efficient as possible.


Collaborative Peer Review

Peer review is at the heart of scholarly publishing. The general concept of collaborative peer review focuses on researchers working together to improve manuscripts and ensure that published work is sound.

Frontiers believes that peer review should be rigorous, constructive, transparent, efficient and fair to both authors and reviewers. Through our innovative review platform, we have introduced a unique collaborative review, uniting authors, reviewers and editors in an online discussion forum. This allows rapid iterations of comments and responses, and facilitates consensus and balanced editorial decisions. Editors, reviewers and authors collaborate together to improve submitted manuscripts.



Frontiers is a community-rooted open-access publisher. Our journals are run by over 50’000 researchers from more than 5’000 universities worldwide. These active researchers take all editorial decisions regarding manuscripts, while the Frontiers staff provide support and guidance in running the journals and keeping the review process on track according to our Frontiers principles. Our approach to publishing is community-driven and democratic.


Frontiers is a platform for truly cross-disciplinary collaborations. This is best realized by one of Frontiers’ key features: cross-listing of Specialty Sections. Frontiers understands the importance of placing research in the hands of the most relevant experts, both during the review process and after publication. Cross-listed Specialties enable authors to consider both the most relevant editorial board and the most suitable audience when submitting to our journals.

When submitting a first tier manuscript authors are required to choose the most appropriate audience by selecting a Field Journal among those that cover the Specialty they are submitting to. This way, if the article rises to the next tier tier it will be highlighted in the Field Journal most closely related to the manuscript’s content. (Please see Democratic Tiering, below, for an explanation of how the different tiers work.).

This cross-listing feature provides a non-imposing structure that is naturally shaped by authors and promotes the sharing of relevant research across related disciplines.


Democratic Tiering

Democratic Tiering refers to the mechanisms that Frontiers implemented to highlight academically excellent and socially relevant research articles to a broader audience.

In the Frontiers Journal Series , accepted articles are initially published in the first tier. Following publication, impact metric data is collected, evaluated and used as a basis for our Chief Editors to invite authors of high-impact articles to write Focused Reviews which put the original discovery into a wider context, for a broader audience and a deeper impact, and are published under the Field Journal. This article type is free of charge.

Using the Frontiers Evaluation System, the most outstanding articles can progressively climb up the Frontiers Tiering system while addressing an increasingly wide audience. The tiering levels are based on the Frontiers taxonomy, so that tier 1 publishes articles addressing Specialty audiences, tier 2 publishes articles addressing Field audiences, and tier 3 will publish articles addressing Domain audiences.


The highest level of the Frontiers taxonomy divides academic research into domains: Science, Health, Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences. Within each domain a number of fields are covered, e.g. Science contains Neuroscience, Earth Science, Physiology, etc. Each field is sub-divided into a number of SpecialtiesSpecialties. These Specialty Sections have independent editorial boards and can be associated with multiple fields, allowing cross-listing of research articles and other content.



Frontiers’ e-books are bundled collections of articles contributed to Frontiers Research Topics or conference abstracts, and are freely available for download in PDF and EPUB formats.


Browsable e-magazines of past issues of the Field Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience are freely available for download.

Editorial Board

Every Frontiers Journal or Section is run by a board of editors (the Editorial Board). Experts are appointed to the Editorial Board to ensure that all niches are covered. The boards are organized as follows.

Each Field Journal, made up of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections, is chaired by the Field Chief Editor. Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections are each run by their own Editorial Boards, which are headed by Specialty Chief Editors and composed of Associate and Review Editors. The tasks for each editorial role are well-defined, so that the assignments are evenly distributed, and the review process is as efficient as possible.

Equal Opportunity Publishing

Frontiers’ mission and vision is to build an Open Science platform where everybody has equal opportunity to seek, share and generate knowledge and that empowers researchers and scholars in their daily work. Our Equal Opportunity Publishing model reaches toward universal access and democratic peer evaluation, and is a blend of widely accepted concepts and innovations, including open access, innovative peer review, democratic post-publication evaluation, community-driven service, interdisciplinarity, free knowledge dissemination, and research networking.



Each Frontiers domain is composed of a number of fields, roughly representing large research communities such as neuroscience (Science domain), psychiatry (Health domain), or bioengineering and biotechnology (Engineering domain). Each field is assigned to only one domain; however, to support interdisciplinary work, Specialties may be assigned to multiple Field Journals allowing cross-listing between them.

Field Journal

Field Journals are headed by a Field Chief Editor and composed of a number of Specialty Journals and/or Specialty Sections. Only Field Journals publish the prestigious tier 2 article types, i.e., Focused Reviews and Frontiers Commentaries. These articles represent the best research in a field as judged by democratic tiering based on community interest. First tier articles submitted to Specialty Sections are also published through Field Journals.

Frontiers Commentary

A Frontiers Commentary is a prestigious tier 2 invitation-only commentary that discusses an outstanding discovery which was previously published as original research at Frontiers. The article to be commented is selected by the Frontiers Tiering system, and is based on online article level impact metrics and vetted by the respective Chief Editors.

Frontiers Media SA

Frontiers Media SA operates an open-access publishing platform using an author-pay business model. It has a commercial mandate to develop multiple revenue streams that can be used to support open-access publishing, as well as a technology mandate to ensure that scientists benefit from cutting-edge IT technologies.

Focused Review

A Focused Review is a prestigious tier 2 invitation-only review that highlights an outstanding discovery which was previously published as original research at Frontiers and was selected by the Frontiers Tiering system, based on online article level impact metrics and vetted by the respective Chief Editors.


Independent Review

The Independent Review phase is the first of the two review phases at Frontiers. In this phase, Review Editors individually assess a manuscript according to a standardized questionnaire provided by Frontiers and submit their Independent Review Reports, after which the Associate Editor can activate the Interactive Review.

Interactive Review

The Interactive Review phase is the second of the two review phases at Frontiers. For the few article types which receive short reviews, it is the sole phase. For full reviews, it is activated by the Associate Editor once reviewers provide their Independent Review Reports. For short reviews, the Interactive Review is immediately activated. During this phase, authors, reviewers and editors can interact in an online dialogue through the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum, a custom-designed review platform that streamlines the review process.

Impact Metrics

Impact metrics provide an objective, crowd-sourced measure of the overall performance and reach of articles and authors. Article-Level Metrics quantify the reach and impact of published research, incorporating data from new sources (such as social media mentions) along with traditional measures (such as citations) to present a richer picture of how an individual article is being discussed, shared, and used.

These metrics are available immediately for every article published by Frontiers, as well as their authors. They also provide the basis for the selection of outstanding articles for Frontiers Tiering.

The Frontiers Impact Metrics offer a real-time view of:

  • Views & downloads
  • Citations
  • Social buzz (through data)
  • Registered visitor demographics including: age, region and field of interest
  • Aggregated author impact metrics
  • Loop profile views


Journal Series

The Frontiers Journal Series is an interdisciplinary set of open-access online journals, covering an increasing number of domains, fields and specialties. In general, Frontiers journals are Field Journals, which publish first tier articles in Specialty Sections and second tier articles in the Field Journal). There are also a number of Specialty Journals, which publish first tier articles.



Loop is Frontiers' online research network for researchers, academics and scholars, with a mission to maximise impact for scientists and their articles. Loop is the only network that integrates into journals or academic and institutional websites. Loop launched as an integration into both the Nature Publishing Group and Frontiers’ journal series.

Loop profiles showcase a registered user’s publications, achievements and impact. The platform also disseminates articles and maximizes readership.

Advanced algorithms also ensure the most relevant research is delivered to users in their personal activity streams, allowing users to stay on top of the latest discoveries and to connect with researchers who have similar interests.



The Frontiers platform is at the heart of the whole Frontiers system. It employs the latest Internet technologies in terms of analytics, interactivity, integration and functionalities in general. Frontiers took its entire publishing process online, providing new solutions for streamlining peer review, publish, evaluate and disseminate articles. The platform is continuously evolving with new technological improvements and based on feedback from the community.


Research Networking

Research Networking tools serve as management systems to gather relevant information from many sources, repositories and databases in a centralized, useful and searchable platform.

The Frontiers platform’s integrated networking system was re-released in 2015 as Loop.

Research Topics

Frontiers Research Topic is a unique concept in which experts manage the publication of a collection of peer reviewed articles around their own focused area of research. Research Topics showcase your sub-field of work, stimulate discussion, catalyze collaboration and maximize the impact of the articles published in them.

Frontiers has developed a specialized online platform to assist researchers in running Research Topics. As of October 2014, over 6’000 Research Topics have already been launched, 70’000 authors have contributed, and Research Topic articles have received over 30 million views and downloads.



Specialties are the first tier of the Frontiers taxonomy. They are linked to all fields that are relevant to them. They reflect the interdisciplinary, cross-listed nature of academic research and recognize that, more and more often, research overlaps with more than one academic field and sometimes even more than one domain. In this sense, Frontiers fields can be regarded as umbrellas that house Specialties. Frontiers Specialties have their own homepage and independent board of editors, composed of experts from the relevant fields. Any time a new Field Journal is launched, it may contribute new aspects to an already existing Specialty Journal or Section. Existing Specialties are then cross-listed with these new fields, and additional experts from the new field are integrated into the editorial board of this Specialty as Associate and Review Editors. If appropriate, a further Specialty Chief Editor can be appointed. This creates an integrative and synergistic publishing structure by fostering interdisciplinary contributions and exposing Specialties present in different fields to a much wider audience.

Specialty Journal

Specialty Journals are highly successful first tier Specialties that have reached a sustainable number of articles per month. When a certain threshold is reached, articles are published under the Specialty name rather than under a Field Journal, e.g., Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Specialty Section

Specialty Sections operate with their own homepage and independent board of editors. Articles published in a Specialty Section are displayed together on the Specialty homepage and shared with followers of that Specialty. However, the articles will be cited under the field selected upon submission. Authors submitting to a cross-listed Specialty Section can select the most suitable audience for their article by selecting the most relevant Field Journal. The choice of a specific Specialty Section for submission should be based on the section’s mission statement and the editorial board, ensuring that the authors’ manuscript is edited and reviewed by the most relevant experts.


Young Minds or Frontiers for Young Minds

Frontiers for Young Minds is a non-profit scientific journal for which young people serve both as the target audience and as critical participants in the peer review process. It connects 8-15 year olds directly with leading scientists, working together to provide feedback on articles about cutting-edge discoveries. The end result is a journal of freely available, peer reviewed, scientific articles shaped for younger audiences and the broader public.